The beating heart of this film may be the father/son dynamic, but its soul lies in the fascinating world of Black cowboys. The film is based on the Fletcher Street Stables in Philadelphia (the urban riding club
has been around for 100 years and is still active) and intimately tells the story of a little-known community and a culture that is often white-washed by Hollywood
. Staub, the director, even enlisted regulars from the stables to play supporting roles — like Ivannah Mercedes (Esha) and Jamil “Mil” Prattis
, the latter plays Paris, a cowboy whose love of horses didn’t stop when a spinal cord injury left him without use of his legs. Prattis taught Elba and McLaughlin how to ride since, when filming started, “wasn’t none of them good,” he said with a laugh. (In Elba’s defence, he’s allergic to horses.) McLaughlin, meanwhile, bonded with a horse named Boo, and spent off hours on set playing basketball with “Mil” who beat him while he was wearing cowboy boots.